Regular support key to plans for student activity centre

By Lhwanzu Kitooke
The Vice Chancellor (VC) of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, referenced Mark 12 as he talked about the poor widow who Jesus praised for giving a few coins because it was all she had.

Speaking during the “UCU Alumni Meet” in Namirembe (Archbishop’s Palace Gardens) on Friday, 9 November 2018, he connected this Biblical story to fundraising with his emphasis that “having a standing order as a person on a regular basis of giving out something for charity per month, whatever little you give, is valuable.”

Specifically, the fundraising surrounds a UCU Alumni Association drive to build a student activity centre on the Mukono campus. The project is estimated to cost around 14 billion shillings and is aimed at providing added collaboration space and centralising such services as restaurants, the gymnasium and banks.

The UCU Vice Chancellor was joined in his remarks by the Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali Archbishop of Church of Uganda and Chancellor UCU; David Magawe, Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) of Development and External Relations; and Alira David Pechokisika, UCU Alumni Association President.

 “Our goal is to have the building up in October 2022 when UCU celebrates 25 years,” the association president said. “A university is as good as its alumni. Let’s do what we can to make sure UCU grows.”

DVC –DER David Magawe noted that discussion of the centre started in 2013. Development was delayed by the need for additional classrooms (Noll building) and road and sidewalk construction on the Mukono campus. The start of the new School of Medicine and construction of a new building on the Kampala campus have been other priorities interfering with focus on the centre.

“You make it happen,” he said to roughly 70 alumni at the event. “We need you.”

Dr. Senyonyi said that while he was the USA, people supported UCU and some of them gave little as $5 during the construction of the Hamu Mukasa Library located in the heart of the UCU Mukono campus.

“When I travel all over the continent of Africa, in the USA and UK, I meet people proud of UCU,” he said. “All UCU Alumni should be proud of their University.” He encouraged UCU graduates not to do negative publicity about the University but instead bring ideas on table for proper development.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, a Bishop Tucker Theological College graduate, blessed the event and asked those present to “pray, mobilize and give money.”

 

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Among those representing an estimated 60,000 UCU alumni were:

  • Okot Emmanuel, a graduate from the Mass Communication class of 2015 who travelled from Juba (South Sudan) – He pledged to be a UCU Ambassador and market UCU as a brand in his home country. He volunteers with 98.6 Eye Radio Juba on the news desk and as an investigative reporter. As one tactic to increase mobilization for the University, Okot encouraged the alumni and friends of UCU to use their job positions and skills to promote UCU. He said: “For example, if you are a radio presenter, just a minute to talk about your University would not hurt. After all you carry the UCU Certificates and Transcripts forever.”

Martha Kyoshaba, Current Academic Registrar Mbarara University of Science and Technology and a UCU pioneer graduate in 2000 – She noted: “All the things I do, I learnt from UCU. Even when I was Vice Guild President, it shaped my leadership skills.”

  • Tezita Sekeri, former UCU student working with the office of the Prime Minister in Uganda – He advised the UCU Alumni Association to identity all those former students doing well. “They are well-off and they have connections, their involvement in such big projects is a step ahead of us all,” he said.

A highlight of the evening was the auctioning of an artist rendition of the new centre. Those attending donated shillings from 10,000 to 100,000 each in a friendly tent-to-tent competition as part of raising additional funds for the centre.

“When I began doing development, I was told about the value of having strong alumni,” the Vice Chancellor said. He looked around the lawn and added, “Even this small group, you can do something.”

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